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Natural Resource Management (NRM) refers to steps taken to manage the supply and access to natural resources by an organization or society. It also refers to the management of actions taken to increase the supply of energy from renewable sources and decrease the supply from non-renewable sources. The management of natural resources is important because:
1. The balance of ecosystems highly depends on the amount of resources we take from the environment.
2. We can minimize damage to the environment by the effective management of natural resources.
3. NRM monitors the amount of natural resources we consume and the rate at which we consume them. Therefore, stopping the overconsumption of natural resources.
We obtain everything that is essential in our daily life through natural resources. If we can manage our consumption of natural resources, we can reverse global warming and environmental degradation. Limiting our use of natural resources can also ensure that waste generated is minimized and is safe for disposal.
a. Ecological Approach
The ecological approach is one of the strategies used to manage resources. It promotes the sustainable use and conservation of resources. This strategy emphasizes that continuous economic growth cannot take place without the sustainable use of natural resources and the environment. This approach recognizes the interdependency of species and local communities in ecosystems. Thus, the sustainment of economic growth with a rising population includes investing in the conservation of the environment.
b. Economic Approach
Most people think that protecting the environment means solely protecting species and ecologies. However, a major portion of resource management is about using resources efficiently and fully, which is where the economic approach comes in. From an economic perspective, the cause of environmental problems is often undervaluing resources due to inefficient use and a user not fully paying the cost of using a resource. Therefore, again from an economics perspective, these problems can be solved by setting a proper value on resources, by efficiently using resources so that their value is increased, and for end-users of resources to pay the cost for unsustainable use and gain the benefits for sustainable use of resources.
c. Ethnological Approach
It is very unfortunate that most studies in resource management do not consider humanitarian aspects. The ethnological approach to resource management studies how people have used natural resources throughout history. It also studies the traditional ways of resource management as a culture among local communities. It analyzes how the world used natural resources in the pre-industrial period and how the use of natural resources has changed since then. The ethnological approach stresses the need to preserve the cultural heritage of locals since their culture has traditionally used resources sustainably and preserved the environment.
Integrated Resource Management (or IRM) is defined as the planning of processes that let people use resources in such a way that they experience the benefits of their sustainable use, and the conflicts between them for the use of resources are reduced. IRM balances the economic, environmental, and social requirements of society with regard to its use of resources. IRM is an inclusive approach that encompasses different perspectives on resource management. It engages ecological, social, political, and economic factors to define and tackle environmental issues. There are two key elements that IRM includes:
1. Stakeholder Collaboration. The stakeholders that IRM engages must represent a diverse set of opinions and interests. The interaction between these diverse individuals is important in achieving long-term success.
2. Explicit Goals. Well-defined goals go a long way in successfully managing resources. Define goals in such a way that the developments towards a particular goal can be quantified and monitored. For example, maintaining biodiversity is an important goal in resource management. Managing and monitoring a set of elements that healthy biodiversity depends on (such as hydrology, local communities, and natural disturbances) will support the survival of wild species and a diverse biosphere.
Natural resources are fundamental to human life. We use natural resources in a number of different ways to fulfill our daily requirements. However, the supply of natural resources is not infinite. There is a limit to how much we can use. Crossing this limit will ensue global mayhem. Unless we can properly manage and minimize our use of natural resources, we could witness the fall of global economies and the environment in the future. That is why NRM is the need of the hour. NRM can ensure that enough resources are left behind for future generations, that the environment is protected, and that renewable, clean energy is used.
Benefits of Natural Resource Management:
1. Prevents more destruction and degradation of the environment.
2. Solves pollution problems such as air and water pollution.
3. Improves the conditions of existing resources.
Careful planning and competent individuals involved in the process of management of natural resources can make a great contribution towards a healthy, sustainable planet.
We must be aware of the fact that when the environment is at its prime, society as a whole has the opportunity to thrive. The sustainable use of natural resources has the ability to reverse biodiversity loss, deforestation, and environmental degradation, which benefits us as a society. We can breathe in cleaner air, drink purer water, and have an aesthetically pleasing surrounding. Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising on the needs of future generations is the main motive of the sustainable use of resources. Thus, NRM has sustainability built within its framework. Natural resources cannot be effectively managed without considering sustainability. When we choose to manage our use of natural resources, we directly contribute to a world that is focused on sustainability.